Past the point of no return

BY : spikesbint
Category: M through R > Phantom of the Opera
Dragon prints: 31287
Disclaimer: I do not own The Phantom of the Opera movie(s), nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

The rose has its thorns

Chapter 5

It was almost the beginning of the new day. The servants stirred in readiness for their daily ritual of hard work, to keep the machine that was the De Chagny estate in perfect working order. Madame Giry was the first to rise, overseeing the servants and their tasks for the day, before taking, as was her custom, a short walk around the perimeter of the house. As she stepped out into the freshness of the morning, she noted a lone rider, galloping towards the house at a breakneck pace. It was only when the horse came closer that she realised it was Christine.

“Madame,” Cried Madame Giry in alarm, noting the torn dress, as Christine dismounted her horse. “Did you have a fall?”

Christine’s mouth twisted. “You could say that,” A fall from grace, thought Christine wretchedly. “Do not worry; I am fine, see, no broken bones,”

“But Christine…”

“Please no fuss, and if you could, not a word of this to anyone? Especially not my husband. I am not sure he would approve of my riding out alone and at this hour,” said Christine.

Madame Giry nodded frowningly, before Christine turned and walked away.

“Dear girl, I only hope you know what a dangerous game you are playing,” said Madame Giry, quietly under her breath, not fooled for an instant. She glanced at the trees in the distance. Sure she saw a figure on a horse watching her, before he galloped away into the distance.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

After having washed herself and changed into fresh bedclothes, Christine got back into her bed just as the first grey streaks of dawn, highlighted the sky. She was filled with self loathing and disgust for herself and her actions.

Did Erik only have to call and she came running to him? It seemed that it was so. Even now she yearned for his company and after his cruelty towards her. But what had he not done that she had not begged for? her traitorous mind demanded. Erik stirred her blood and senses until she was sure that she would be consumed by them.

Raoul turned over in bed, unaware that she had been missing from his side for most of the night. He smiled sleepily at her, before his smile faded, noting a bruise forming at the base of her throat.

“You are hurt,” he stated. Touching the mark on her neck.

Christine, flushed, frantically trying to invent a plausible excuse. She picked up the hand mirror that rested on her bedside table to glance at it. A vague memory of Erik’s lips at her throat invaded her mind. “Oh-er it is nothing. I sustained it last night when I got up from my bed, I tripped and fell in the darkness,”

“Lottie, awkward as ever…do you remember the time..”

Christine cut him off with a yawn. Smiling back at him, she hid the annoyance she felt at his use of her pet name. She was a woman now, not some little lost lamb in need of an anchor. Little Lottie belonged in the past. She closed her eyes, and allowed Raoul to drape his arm about her as she tried to sleep. All the while her heart craved another pair of arms, which were strong and warm. A lone tear trickled down her cheek before sleep finally claimed her.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Erik woke in a tangle of bed sheets, the light flooding through the wooden shutters, like blinding fingers. As the events of the previous night came back to him, his body hardened in response to those memories. Now the floodgates of his passion had finally been breached, he found that he craved what had previously been unbeknownst to him. The little sleep he had managed to get, had been punctuated by tortured dreams. He had been back in his cage at the circus, but no longer a boy. Christine and her husband had been there also, laughing at him from the other side of the bars.

Erik raked his fingers through his hair in an attempt to clear his sleep addled mind. He winced a little at the soreness in his shoulder. Rising naked from the bed; he walked over to the long mirror in the corner of the room and surveyed himself in its reflection. There were four score marks on his flesh that could have only been made by Christine’s long fingernails. Erik smiled in satisfaction at the passion he had rung from her as they had come together in pure ecstasy. Now that he had known her in body, he found it was not enough. He wanted all of her, heart, body and soul.

Nothing, but her absolute surrender would satisfy him. His heart and his pride as a man demanded it. His fist clenched at the idea of her lying with her legal husband. Could the pasty faced Vicomte with his soft eyes and gentle touch, bring her to tears and make her sob in his arms from their mating? He thought not, as he remembered her look of wonder as he’d possessed her. The feelings she had experienced were as new to her as they were to him.

He replaced his mask as was his habit. With it, he pulled on his long dressing gown, and walked into the living area of the house, to the small corner that could be almost called a kitchen. He opened the pantry door and took his meagre meal of bread and cheese and sat down in his armchair.

He had barely cut the bread, when there was a tentative knock at the door. He put the plate down on the table and took the long knife with him, hiding it behind his back as he looked through the shutters. He was undecided of what to do, when he saw the identity of his early morning caller. She knocked again and Erik sighed and opened the door.

“Madame Giry,” he drawled. “What brings you here this hour of the day. Do you not have a fine house to run?”

“Erik, I need to talk to you. I know about you and Christine,” she replied,

This simple statement caught his attention as he widened the door to admit her entrance.

“I have no idea to what you are alluding,” Eric replied.

Madame Giry looked around the room with a leisure she could not afford on her previous visit. Her glance rested on some unknown point. She stooped to the floor to retrieve something from it and walked over to him, her hand stretched out. Erik took the object from her, a smug smile on his features as he looked at the small black button that rested on his palm.

“A button from Christine’s riding habit monsieur, how would you explain that?” she asked.

Erik’s fingers closed around the button. “You know me Madame Giry; I am not in the habit of explaining myself to anyone,” He told her haughtily.

“Please leave this place. Leave Christine, she is but a child,” begged Madame Giry,

“She was far from a child in my arms last night,” he growled back at her.

Madame Giry looked at him hardly. She knew he was a dangerous man, but she also knew that he would not harm her.

“If not for Christine’s sake then for your own…if the Vicomte knew you were here, he would demand satisfaction and no one would win, no matter what the outcome. Christine cares for you both. Can you not be content with that?” she pleaded.

“Madame, I will not leave here, please do not come to me again,” he looked at her levelly. “I find my patience wearing thin,” He smiled as he registered the flicker of fear in her eyes.

“Have a care Erik, the Vicomte is far more dangerous than he appears,” She sighed before leaving him.

Erik quietly closed the door on his unwelcome visitor and sat back down. He pushed his plate away angrily. No longer hungry, he walked over to the piano and took his fountain pen and begun to play notes and write as he worked on his latest score.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Christine, what is wrong?” Asked Raoul as he helped himself to a plate of sausages, his appetite in the country much more increased than during his sojourns in the city.

Christine smiled weakly at him. “I am just a little drained from such pleasant company last night, tis all,”

“That is a shame. I have to go into the city again today and thought you might like to accompany me,”

Christine’s expression brightened at the idea of an outing. Any distraction was welcome, to get her away from the temptations that her new home now held for her. She felt Eric’s touch upon her skin still. The strain of pretence was starting to take its toll. She was not built for deceit and intrigue; it was not in her nature. Or so she had thought.

“Really?” she asked hopefully.

Raoul lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly, she almost drew back from his touch. Why did his lips not feel strong and passionate and make her tremble? She hated herself for her unfaithful thoughts towards a husband that had done nothing, but love her.

“Prepare yourself we depart within half an hour,” He replied, as he got up to leave the breakfast table.

With her husband gone, she let out a deep breath, before returning to her room to attend her toilette. Charlotte was waiting for her to help with her hair. She was notably silent this morning, no doubt scolded by Madame Giry for the previous day’s faux pas. Christine was not in a mood to converse, so it suited her very well.

Christine eyed herself critically in the mirror, while Charlotte picked up several discarded garments to be taken for laundry. Christine saw the maid pause at the bed, a smile on her face. She turned on her stool to look at what had caused it. The girl held a red rose in her hand, and Christine felt all the colour leave her face as she strode over to the bed and took it from her. It was a deep red rose with a black ribbon tied around it. She knew its author…Erik had always left her a rose when he had been pleased with her. Her cheeks burned with shame, for there could be no doubt as to manner in which she had pleased him the night before.

Charlotte noticed the blush on her cheeks and mistook it for pleasure. “It is tres romantique Madame,” sighed Charlotte wistfully.

“Yes very,” said Christine distantly as she brushed the rose against her cheek and breathed in its delicate scent.

“Christine!” Her husband called out.

Her eyes widened in alarm as she hastily concealed the rose under her pillow, ignoring the confused look of her maid. She turned to greet her husband and took his arm, as he led her to their waiting carriage. He helped her into it and took his place at her side, banging the roof to signal to the driver that they were ready to be on their way.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Erik watched from the cover of the trees as the De Chagny carriage with its crest emblazoned on the side, made its way up the extensive drive. He had seen Christine enter the carriage followed by her fool of a husband, primped and preened like some peacock. His fingers had tightened on the reins in his hand, at the sight of his rival. His horse was saddled and ready for him. He pulled his black cloak over himself and drew the hood over his head, concealing most of his face. His finished score was stored safely away in the saddlebag. He set off for Paris to keep his appointment with the manager of another lesser opera house in the city.

Once on the open road, his horse picked up speed and he soon passed the carriage, glimpsing Christine inside. She looked pale, her expression of one deep in thought. Something had alerted her to his presence and she glanced up at him, fear shadowing her face, before she pulled down the blind on the carriage window.

They were living in dangerous times, the Prussian army were not far from the boundaries of Paris, and Erik marvelled at the foolhardiness of the Vicomte in taking Christine into such an unstable situation. The Germans, after their victory, were pushing forwards towards Paris and the capitol was in a state of defence. The roads to Paris were unnaturally busy with carts full of grain and livestock, being stock piled into the city. Several times he had had to slow the punishing pace he had set his horse, as he became swamped by herds of sheep.

He was ever conscious that the De Chagny carriage was not far behind him. When he reached Paris, it was well into the afternoon. The capital was as busy as its roads. He dismounted his horse and tethered it to a post, before leaving behind the more salubrious areas of the city. He had persuaded the manager to meet him in one of the lesser frequented establishments, in a bid to keep his anonymity. According to popular belief the opera ghost had perished in that fire all those months back and he preferred to keep it that way.

Several of Paris’s less finest eyed him with intent to rob him, but he showed them the steel of his sword and they soon went off in search of other prey. He entered the tavern to find it almost deserted as he was ushered to a private room. Monsieur Bagot was waiting for him, his countenance uneasy as his fingers played with the edges of his starched collar.

Erik sat down at the table as the innkeeper slopped down a couple of glasses of red wine. Erik eyed him disdainfully, causing the man to quake at the look in his eyes.

“I fear this will be our last meeting in a while M-monsieur,” stuttered the nervous looking man seated across from him. “I am leaving Paris as soon as possible. It is no longer safe here,”

Erik looked at him, his face in partial shadow, which served to increase the other man’s agitation as it lent a sinister appearance to his features, along with the mask he wore.

“A bargain is a bargain, and you agreed on the price of 100,000 francs for my latest work. I hold you to our agreement,” said Erik unsheathing his sword and placing it on the table.

It had the desired effect on the other man, as he fumbled about in his waistcoat and handed him the bundle of banknotes.

“Daylight robbery is what it is. I can’t even consider staging it in all the unrest,” he grumbled as he took the leather-bound manuscript from Erik’s hand.

“You will be more than compensated when it is,” said Erik confidently. With a dramatic swish of his black cape he was gone.

He was out once more in the darkened back alleys of Paris. He had not gone more than a few steps when he realised he was being followed. A small smile turned the corners of his mouth as his hand reached for his sword...

The fat grubby innkeeper of earlier, clutched at his stomach as Erik removed his sword from his gut. The older man fell to the ground, his cudgel slipping from his thick fingers and clattering on to the cobbled paving. Erik could only guess that the man had seen the money change hands at his establishment and his greed had gotten the better of him.

It had been the first life he had taken since Piangi on the opera house stage, during his performance of Don Juan. He felt no regrets at the life he had just ended. He had not been the man’s first intended victim, but at least he would be his last. He continued on his way, his steps picking up speed as he heard the cries behind him…

“Murder,”

“It is the Germans, they are here to kill us,” came another,

“We are all dead men,” cried one more.

Soon the crowds had whipped up into a frenzy and poured out into the main streets. Erik worked his way through the gathering crowds, to his horse. He saw the De Chagny carriage pass him, caught up in the hysterical mob and surrounded by it. It was rocking precariously from the pressure on all sides. He froze as he heard a woman’s scream, and unmistakably that of Christine as the carriage overturned. He fought his way through the mass of people and pulled open a door. She and her husband lay inside unconscious.

With little thought for his own safety he leapt inside and dragged Christine out of the overturned vehicle. Erik noticed that the Vicomte was stirring as he pulled Christine into his arms and carried her away to his horse. Once mounted he took the reins and set off in the other direction, the mob moving away in its tide.

He reached the only real home he had known, secure in the knowledge that it would be safer than here on the streets. He opened the door to the courtyard and put his horse in the abandoned stables, before lifting Christine from the horse and carrying her down to his former home beneath the opera populaire.

TBC


You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story